Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chiko Roll

The Chiko Roll is an Australian savoury snack, inspired by the Chinese egg roll and spring rolls. It was designed to be easily eaten on the move without a plate or cutlery. The Chiko roll consists of beef, celery, cabbage, barley, carrot, corn, onion, green beans, and spices in a tube of egg, flour and dough which is then deep-fried. The wrap was designed to be unusually thick so it would survive handling at football matches. It was originally called a "Chicken roll" despite not containing any chicken then later renamed "Chiko Roll". At the peak of their popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, tens of millions of Chiko Rolls were sold annually in Australia, and the product has been described as an Australian cultural icon.
The Chiko Roll was developed by Frank McEncroe, a boilermaker from Bendigo who turned to catering at football matches and other outdoor events. In 1950, McEncroe saw a competitor selling Chinese chop suey rolls outside Richmond Cricket Ground and decided to add a similar product to his own line. McEncroe felt that the Chinese rolls were too flimsy to be easily handled in an informal outdoor setting, and hit upon the idea of a much larger and more robust roll that would provide a quick meal that was both reasonably substantial and easily handled. The result was the Chiko Roll, which debuted at the Wagga Wagga Agriculture Show in 1951.
In the 1960s, McEncroe moved to Melbourne with his family where he began to manufacture the rolls with the help of a sausage machine. As the product became more popular, McEncroe moved to a larger factory with more modern equipment in North Essendon and later merged with a local company called Floyd's Iceworks to form Frozen Food Industries Pty Ltd. The new company went public in 1963.
By 1965, most Australian takeaway restaurants and fish and chip shops carried Chiko Rolls, with the marketing slogan 'Grab a Chiko' signifying the ease with which shop owners could take a Chiko Roll from the freezer and pop it into a fryer and slide it into its own trade mark bag. At the height of their popularity in the 1970s, 40 million Chiko Rolls were being sold Australia-wide each year and more than one million were exported to Japan.
Increasing competition in the Australian takeaway food market in recent decades has seen a decline in the profile of the Chiko Roll, but they are still widely available at fish and chips shops and supermarkets across Australia.

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